How the Israeli Left Has Undermined Faith in the Rule of Law

In the months leading up to Israel’s recent elections, the country’s attorney general announced that he would seek indictments against Benjamin Netanyahu on multiple charges of corruption. Nonetheless, Netanyahu’s Likud party gained seats in the Knesset, ensuring that he will retain the premiership. Evelyn Gordon points to a survey, conducted in February, that may explain why the corruption charges haven’t damaged Netanyahu at the ballot box:

Fully 65 percent of Likud voters and 75 percent of ḥaredi voters think law-enforcement agencies are simply trying to oust Netanyahu. On one level, this is shocking. But on another, it’s not shocking at all because the Israeli left has spent decades successfully subverting the concept of “the rule of law” for its own political benefit.

For instance, Israel’s Supreme Court repeatedly overturns government policies not because they violate any law but because the justices deem them “unreasonable.” . . . Moreover, in almost every Western democracy, the executive and legislative branches choose Supreme Court justices; only in Israel do sitting justices have veto power over the choice of their successors. Yet the left has branded every attempt to align Israel’s judicial appointments system with this Western norm as “contrary to the rule of law,” and has thereby successfully staved off change. . . .

[In addition], there’s the unequal application of laws, as epitomized by a pre-election [Supreme Court] ruling that disqualified a Jewish Knesset candidate but nixed the disqualification of an Arab party, Balad. . . .

So here’s how your average rightist voter understands the rule of law today: [as] a trick for ensuring that the left can continue imposing its views no matter how many elections it loses. That trick has successfully thwarted all legislative efforts at reform. But the price is that many rightists now distrust and despise “the rule of law” to such an extent that they dismiss pending indictments against a prime minister as just another attempt by the legal establishment to subvert democracy.

Read more at Evelyn Gordon

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli democracy, Israeli Election 2019, Supreme Court of Israel

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy